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Announcing the Nation’s Largest Adopt-a-Drain Program

Twin Cities’ residents can protect local lakes and streams by cleaning storm drains
Monday, April 22, 2019

Woman cleaning trash from storm drainThe Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is marking Earth Day by inviting residents to participate in Adopt-a-Drain, a new metro-wide program aimed at protecting area lakes, rivers, and wetlands from pollution. In the largest program of its kind in the nation, residents in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area and Rochester are invited to “adopt” a storm drain at and commit to keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris. Keeping storm drains clean protects local lakes and rivers from polluted stormwater runoff that flows off of our streets.

In addition to trash, road salt, and chemicals, organic debris like leaves and grass clippings also threaten the health of our waters. Decaying leaves and grass that wash into storm drains when it rains release nutrients into lakes and rivers that feed excess growth of algae.

After creating an account at with their name and address, residents can claim one or more available storm drains. They will receive tips on how to be safe while cleaning the drains and they’ll get annual reports on how much pollution they and other participants have kept out of local lakes and streams. There are more than 300,000 storm drains in the Twin Cities metro area and each one flows into a local waterway.

The Adopt-a-Drain program began in Saint Paul in 2014 with support from the City of Saint Paul, Capitol Region Watershed District, and Hamline University, and has since been piloted in other cities. Since then, more than 3,000 residents in pilot cities have adopted more than 5,000 storm drains. In 2018, these residents prevented more than 35,562 pounds of debris from washing down storm drains and into lakes and rivers just by sweeping up around storm drains.

The Adopt-a-Drain program is a project of Metro Watershed Partners, a coalition of more than 70 public, private and non-profit organizations committed to water resource education in the Twin Cities metro area. For more information on how to adopt a drain or to become a supporting member, email the program at or visit